Some 25 former constituents on Thursday announced their creation of a Citizen’s Alliance network to campaign against the adoption of the re-election referendum for Colombia’s current Government.
Members of the so called ‘Citizen’s Alliance for Democracy’ claimed that is was created to defend democratic institutions, oppose the re-election referendum and, should the referendum be passed through Congress, promote public abstention in the March 2010 presidential elections.
According to their arguments, currently the greatest threat to the Colombian Constitution comes from the reform which could potentially allow the second re-election of President Alvaro Uribe, reported newspaper El Espectador.
They highlighted that the national Constitution established a regime which limits a presidential term to four years and in the same way, other positions such as members of judicial branches, the national banking system and the security entities also have limited periods of service. This system of limited service times guarantees the equal balance of power.
The alliance are concerned that if the referendum passes through Congress, democracy will be threatened and the Consitution will no longer be valid.
The alliance, an idea that was conceived in July, took form on Thursday in the country’s capital Bogota, where some 60 supporters ratified it – among them lawyers, trade unionists, academics, students and artists.
Sonia Eljach, project coordinator, said that the aim of the alliance is to “legally argue that the second re-election would be unconstitutional,” and should it be accepted members will encourage “democratic abstention as a valid and legal mechanism in a time of crisis.”
The leader of the alliance Augusto Ramirez Ocampo, said that it was “without political distinction or electoral agendas in the 2010 elections and aimed to establish itself as a reference point for the preservation of democracy.” Ocampo emphasized that the ultimate goal will be to “defend and promote the social status of Law.”
In conclusion, the alliance was quoted saying that it served not to “disregard the merits of the Government but to restrict the abuse of power.”